News Briefs


Amazon integrates Amazon One with FreedomPay

Amazon One

Amazon is making its palm-based payment solution available to users of a payment processing platform.

Now, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is integrating Amazon One with FreedomPay’s commerce technology platform. Initially introduced at two Seattle-area Amazon Go stores in September 2020, Amazon One is designed to let customers use their unique palm signature to pay or present a loyalty card at a store. 

Amazon One uses computer vision and deep learning techniques, including generative AI , as well as hardware, to create a person’s unique palm signature. Protection is provided by multiple security controls using custom-built algorithms and hardware to create each person’s unique palm signature which is never stored on the device. Instead, these signatures are encrypted and sent to a secure, custom-built area in the cloud.

By combining Amazon One with the FreedomPay platform, the companies hope to enable retailers to offer a seamless checkout process and a faster way to pay. Shoppers will now be able to use their palm to pay via debit or credit card with FreedomPay using Amazon One. The partnership will also open Amazon One to FreedomPay’s user base, which includes retailers such as Sephora.

In addition to offering Amazon One as a payment method in its own brick-and-mortar store banners such as Amazon Go, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods, Amazon also currently partners with third-party retailers such as Hudson and Community Groceries, as well as sports and entertainment venues such as Coors Field in Denver, to provide the biometric payment/verification option.

"We’re excited to work with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to launch this new solution and to continue building innovative new physical retail experiences," said Chris Kronenthal, president at FreedomPay, in a corporate blog post.


Target to hire 100,000 seasonal employees

target houston

Target Corp.’s holiday hiring plans are on par with last year.

The discounter said it plans to hire nearly 100,000 seasonal workers to assist customers, provide same-day fulfillment services and sort and ship orders. It is the same number of associates that Target hired for the 2022 and 2021 holiday seasons.  

Also similar to last year, the retailer said it is committed to scheduling flexibility for its existing employees and will continue to give them the opportunity to add extra hours to build their desired schedule.  The retailer noted it has successfully established an “On Demand” team — a flexible workforce that includes nearly 45,000 team members — who have the option to pick up shifts on an as-desired basis, depending on staffing needs and team member availability.

Target announced its hiring plans the day after Macy’s Inc. said it expects to hire for more than 38,000 full- and part-time seasonal positions at its Macy, Bloomingdale’s and Blue Mercury stores, as well as for its distribution centers.


Melissa & Doug to open its first-ever store, at The Westchester

Melissa & Doug will open in October at The Westchester, in White Plains, N.Y.

A 35-year-old, preschool toy brand is making its brick-and-mortar debut just in time for holiday shopping. 

Mellisa & Doug store will open its first ever physical store on October 6, at The Westchester, an upscale shopping mall in White Plains, N.Y. The 1,600-sq.-ft. space will feature a curated selection of the brand's top-selling toys across categories, including pretend play sets, learning toys, baby and toddler products, puzzles and arts & crafts. 

The company said the store will be designed to bring the brand to life in innovative ways and give consumers a closeup experience of its attention to detail and quality as well as the play value of its toys. Visitors can also expect small engaging moments throughout, including a spot where kids can measure how many "scoops of ice cream" tall they are, as well as exclusive take-home activities. 

"Families really look to Melissa & Doug when seeking toys that inspire imaginative, screen-free play especially in those first few years," said Bridgette Miller, chief marketing and sustainability officer. "When designing a shopping experience for parents and caregivers, it was important for us to create an environment that really represented this. Adults and children alike will love walking into our store and seeing the brand come to life!"

Melissa & Doug offers a wide assortment of toys, ranging from classic wooden toys to crafts and pretend pla. Products are designed to ignite imagination and a sense of wonder in all children so they can discover their passions and their purpose. Recognized by parents as the #1 preschool brand for wooden and sustainable toys, Melissa & Doug is committed to its vision of making timeless, sustainable toys for a thriving and inclusive world.



Report: Retail holiday hiring to drop

holiday cashier

Retailers are scaling back seasonal hiring this year due to higher labor costs and consumer uncertainty.

U.S. retailers will hire the lowest number of seasonal workers for the upcoming holiday season since 2008, according to Reuters, which cited a report by global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas that was provided exclusively to the news service.

Retailers are expected to add only 410,000 seasonal jobs this season, according to an analysis by the firm of of nonseasonally adjusted data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number is slightly above the 324,900 workers they added during the last quarter of the financial recession of 2008, the report said.

“We have never gone this far into September and not had big hiring predictions from retailers," Andrew Challenger, senior VP at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, told Reuters. "It's really surprising.”

To date, U.S. companies have announced 8,000 planned hires for the holiday season, compared with the 258,201 planned hires announced by this time last year. (The Reuters report was published on Sept. 15). However, Reuters noted, that the Challenger report did not cover all retailers and an updated version will be released.

On September 18, Macy’s announced plans to hire for more than 38,000 full- and part-time seasonal positions this upcoming holiday season.

The report comes amid forecasts that are predicting slower holiday growth this year. According to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast, retail sales will increase 3.5% to 4.6% to total $1.54 to $1.56 trillion during the November to January timeframe in 2023.


Survey sees early signs of luxury spending rebound

Luxury consumers are tapering their spending on goods.

Higher income shoppers are feeling a bit more optimistic.

Fifty-eight percent luxury consumers plan to spend the same or more on luxury in the next three months, according to the latest Saks Luxury Pulse survey, which was fielded in late July. This is an increase from 53% in the prior Saks Luxury Pulse (fielded in late April) and represents the first increase in luxury spending plans since the survey began tracking the metric in May 2022.

As macro-economic headwinds persist, luxury consumers are optimistic (68%) about their personal financial situation, but concerned (55%) about the overall economy. While optimism about respondents’ personal financial situation remains consistent with the prior survey (67%), concern towards the overall economy has improved by five percentage points compared to the prior survey.

When asked what would motivate them to spend more on luxury, 54% of total respondents who plan to spend less said they would be enticed by a sale or promotional event, consistent with the prior survey.  Also, 35% said they would need to see improvement in the overall economy, down from 43% in the prior survey, reinforcing the growing optimism about the economy among luxury consumers.  

Other highlights from the survey are below.

•Higher income respondents are more optimistic about the economy, with 48% of respondents with an income of $200K or more indicating such, up from 42% in the prior survey. Additionally, 64% of these respondents plan to spend the same or more on luxury in the next three months, up  from 57% in the prior survey.

•In addition to luxury, respondents indicated plans to spend on travel. Among all respondents, 74% said they are planning to or have already booked a trip in the near future and, of those, and 72% said they plan to buy luxury items in preparation for their trips.

•When asked where they get fashion inspiration, respondents indicated that they browse retailers online or in person (54%) or look to social media (41%) and fashion journalism (40%). 

•When browsing a retailer’s website, respondents said that outfit ideas for specific occasions (71%) and ideas for putting together outfits (70%) were the most helpful forms of inspiration. 

•Sixty-nine percent of respondents indicated that they explore the curated content on a retailers’ site, with the top reasons being to learn about styling new trends, find style ideas before buying an item and for fun, signifying an interest in curated content for fashion inspiration. 

“We are pleased to see the first increase in over a year in purchase intent across the luxury consumer continuum, an indication that core luxury consumers are starting to turn the corner,” said Marc Metrick, CEO, Saks. “As we look ahead, despite this positive inflection point in luxury consumer sentiment, we remain measured in our approach to navigating the rest of the year to ensure Saks is best positioned for long-term success.”

The Saks Luxury Pulse is a periodic online survey of luxury consumers’ attitudes towards shopping, spending and fashion trends. It is based on responses from 1,836 U.S.-based luxury consumers over age 18 and was fielded between July 20-24, 2023. 



Macy’s Inc. reveals 2023 holiday hiring plans


Macy’s Inc. is gearing up for two  nationwide holiday hiring events. 

The department store giant said it plans to hire for more than 38,000 full- and part-time seasonal positions this upcoming holiday season at its Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury stores, as well as its distribution centers. The retailer noted that nearly one-third of store leadership started their careers with the company during the holiday season. 

 Interested candidates can apply online via an application procedure that takes as little as five minutes, with most job offers made within 48 hours, according to the company. In addition, Macy’s will hold two nationwide in-person holiday hiring events at all stores and supply chain locations on Thursday, September 21, and Thursday, October 19.

Macy’s said its number of 2023 seasonal positions at  “are consistent” with open positions in 2022. 

Seasonal positions are open at all store and distribution center locations nationwide with greater hiring opportunities available in the following markets:


  • Boston
  • Los Angeles
  • Minneapolis
  • Nashville
  • Philadelphia
  • Seattle


  • Boston
  • Chicago 
  • Long Island (N.Y.)
  • Los Angeles 
  • Miami 
  • New York City 
  • Northern Calif.
  • Northern N.J.
  • Southern, Calif.


  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Florida (various markets)
  • Los Angeles
  • Southern Calif.

“The holidays are one of Macy’s, Inc.’s most important seasons to deliver a great shopping experience for our customers and our colleagues are the company’s greatest brand ambassadors at this special time of year,” said Danielle Kirgan, chief transformation and human resources officer.  “Whether they are looking for extra income for the season or the start of a new career in retail, we offer an unmatched culture, competitive pay and fulfilling retail career opportunities.”